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Barwon MP fighting for desperately needed drug rehabilitation centres in western NSW

Published on Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Barwon MP fighting for desperately needed drug rehabilitation centres in western NSW

Member for Barwon, Roy Butler is calling on the NSW Government to take action and establish more residential rehabilitation centres in the west of the State.

Drug related crime figures, presentations to emergency departments, and Ambulance call outs for drug related incidents are all on the increase.

In the Far West, amphetamine use and possession has increased by 61 per cent between April 2017 and March 2019 – the highest increase in the State. 

“For the entire population of Barwon, all three hundred and fifty six thousand square kilometres of it, there are twenty-six residential rehabilitation beds for people looking to beat drug addiction. Twenty-six,” Mr Butler emphasised. 

In the Barwon electorate, there are only two residential rehabilitation centres – the Wiimpatja Healing Centre – 70kms from Wentworth and Orana Haven at Brewarrina.

“These facilities are doing great work, they’re catering for Aboriginal men who have no serious criminal convictions and have been through detoxification. Unfortunately, they’re having to turn people away the demand is just too high. 

“If you fall outside of Wiimpatja or Orana’s requirements, your only other options for treatment are in Mildura, Orange, Cowra, or Sydney – significant distances away,” said Mr Butler.

“In rural New South Wales, there is a complete deficiency of residential rehabilitation centres and fewer resources to break the drug-crime cycle.

“If the Government is serious about fixing the drug problem impacting on communities, they need to take action and commit to establishing detox and rehabilitation facilities in western NSW.

“Calls are coming from all facets of the community – Police, Doctors, Lawyers,  religious leaders and families – it’s time the Government heard their calls and  starts establishing residential rehabilitation centres in western NSW.”

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